The Butantã Residence

La vie en béton brut

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Above photo: Butantã Residence designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha located in São Paulo, Brazil and completed in 1964. Photo: Nelson Kon for

Often items that look rough or ‘brutal’ get mislabeled as ‘Brutalist’. Brutalism, certainly a divisive style, is an architectural form that rose to prominence after WWII (due mainly to the need for a quick rebuilding of Europe after the war) and derives its name from the French phrase ‘Béton Brut’ (meaning ‘raw concrete’) for cast-in-place concrete structures. While most Brutalist architecture took the form of large scale public buildings the style was sometimes found in residential spaces like this home, the Butantã Residence, designed by Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, located in São Paulo, Brazil and completed in 1964.

All photos by Nelson Kon for

We’ll be exploring Brutalism as an architectural style and the recent misuse of the term when applied to furniture and décor in a future article.

Butanta House Paulo Mendes da Rocha 1964

The Butanta House, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 1964. Photo: Nelson Kon for ArchDaily


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